A cozy town hall meeting with Michele Bachmann at the Waverly Pizza Ranch in Iowa took a twist Wednesday when a student questioned the GOP presidential contender's views on same-sex marriage and of what she would do for the gay and lesbian community as president.
"All of us as Americans have the same rights, we have the same civil rights," Bachmann told 16-year-old Jane Schmidt, who identified herself as a member of the school's GSA, the alliance advocating for the rights of gay and straight students.
"There shouldn't be any special rights or any special set of criteria," Bachmann continued. "We all have the same civil rights. "
But that didn't sit well with the student, who said that members of the gay and lesbian community do not have the same rights because they can't get married.
In response, Bachmann said, "There are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices."
"There’s no special rights based upon what you do in your sex life. You’re an American citizen first and foremost and that’s it."
Bachmann reiterated that marriage is between a "man and a woman" and that it is still "the law of the land."
The Republican candidate received applause from the audience for her answers:
Iowa Caucuses provides a partial transcript of the exchange below:
JANE SCHMIDT: One of my main concerns is government support for the LGBT community. So my question is what would you do to protect GSAs in high school and support the LGBT community.
BACHMANN: Well, number one, all of us as Americans have the same rights. The same civil rights. And so that’s really what government’s role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or special set of criteria based upon people’s preferences. We all have the same civil rights.
JANE SCHMIDT: Then, why can’t same-sex couples get married?
BACHMANN: They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they’re a man.
JANE SCHMIDT: Why can’t a man marry a man?
BACHMANN: Because that’s not the law of the land.
JANE SCHMIDT: So heterosexual couples have a privilege.
BACHMANN: No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.
JANE SCHMIDT: So you won’t support the LGBT community?
BACHMANN: No, I said that there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There’s no special rights based upon what you do in your sex life. You’re an American citizen first and foremost and that’s it.
ELLA NEWELL, a junior at Waverly High School: Wouldn’t heterosexual couples, if they were given a privilege then, that gay couples aren’t, like given that privilege to get married, but heterosexual couples are given a privilege to get married?
BACHMANN: Remember every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex.